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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Oil and gas authority approves drilling in the Bight

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Great Australian Bight. Photo Brad Leue.

Last week Australia’s offshore oil and gas authority NOPSEMA approved Norwegian oil-giant Equinor’s Environment Plan for drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

Equinor now only has two more approvals to go before drilling activity can begin.

This decision by NOPSEMA has ignored the concerns of the Australian public. Equinor’s controversial deep-sea oil proposal has been actively opposed around the country with tens of thousands of people participating in paddle-out protests on Australia’s beaches.

Sea Shepherd Australia’s Managing Director Jeff Hansen says Equinor does not have the approval of the Australian public. ‘There is zero social license for this insane project,’ he said.

‘As Australia has just endured it’s hottest national day on record, and our brave firefighters are out battling unprecedented raging bushfires, it’s clear that a climate emergency is truly upon us.

Now – more than ever – we must come together and fight for the Bight, and fight for any chance of a liveable climate for future generations.’

The Great Australian Bight is a pristine natural wilderness area, home to one of the world’s most significant southern right whale nurseries. Oil spill modelling shows that their nursery would not be safe from a toxic fallout from Equinor’s proposed risky deep-sea oil drilling.

Mr Hansen says that according to Equinor’s own report, an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight could affect the coastline from South Australia to as far north as Port Macquarie in New South Wales.

‘The Great Australian Bight Alliance will now work with vigour, determination and relentless passion and resolve to defend our Great Australian Bight. Losing this battle is simply not an option.’

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